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Image courtesy of Shell/Flickr.

Royal Dutch Shell has pulled out of an upcoming licensing round that will offer Arctic blocks in offshore Norway.

Shell’s Norwegian unit told Reuters it will no longer participate in the licensing round and said the decision is part of a global portfolio optimization process the company is undertaking in response to its merger with BG Group and low oil prices.

The company added that Norway remains “one of our core areas.”

Shell completed its $70 billion merger with BG Group in February.

Shell said before the deal closed that restructuring will be required to achieve the merger’s expected benefits, including $3.5 billion in previously disclosed pre-tax synergies.

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said in December that 26 companies submitted applications for the country’s twenty-third licensing round.

The round will offer 54 blocks in the Barents Sea and three in the Norwegian Sea.

A date for the licensing round has not been set yet but the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy expects to award the blocks before the summer of 2016.

Shell’s long-awaited U.S. Arctic campaign ended last September after disappointing well results.

Shell found indications of oil and gas in the Burger J well in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, but said those indications were not sufficient to warrant further exploration in the Burger prospect.

The company said it would cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the “foreseeable future.”